Two hard drives, two different OS, one Mac Pro - is it possible??

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Wedge0chez, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. Wedge0chez macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2010
    Hi Everyone,

    I'm hoping someone more knowledgeable than myself can help me out. I have a 2006 Intel-based Mac Pro:

    Processor: Two 2.66GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors
    Ram: 6GB (two 512MB) of 667MHz DDR2 ECC fully buffered DIMM
    HDD Bay 1: 250GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s; 7200 rpm; 8MB cache
    OSX: Tiger

    I need to upgrade to Snow Leopard to be able to use newer Leopard & above only versions of software ie FCP, Aperature, etc.

    The issue is that I would like to keep the Tiger OSX as I run Pro Tools LE 7 on it. Upgrading to Snow Leopard would render Pro Tools LE 7 incompatible and I would have to buy it again.

    So here's what I'm thinking. I would like to install a secondary HDD in Bay 2 and install Snow Leopard on it.

    Is it possible to have OSX Tiger on the HDD in Bay 1 and have OSX Snow Leopard on the HDD Bay 2? Could they each be a different startup to be selected via System Preferences or at bootup? I would only want to run one OS at any given time.

    If so what would be a workflow for installing the 2nd HDD and setting it up with OSX Snow Leopard.

    Also, compatible hard drives for the 2006 Intel Mac Pros seem to be harder to find now. I called Apple and they no longer sell any compatible internal HDDs.

    Can anyone confirm that this drive would be compatible?

    I know it's alot to ask and I thank anyone in advance for any advice.
  2. DualShock macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2008
    Not sure about a Tiger/Snow Leopard dual boot.

    But you can use any SATA hard drive in the Mac Pro.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Yes. You can select the default startup volume from System Preferences > Startup Disk. If you want to boot into other OS, just hold alt while booting and you can choose the OS

    From little to nothing. Just install the HD and boot from the OS X disc and follow the instructions. Very easy

    Any 3.5" SATA drive will work, for example the drive you linked
  4. Wedge0chez thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2010
    Awesome. I suspected that it all could be done but just needed a knowledgeable confirmation. Thanks alot, I'll let you guys know if anything blows up ha ha ha.
  5. tomllama macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2007
    The only issue is that when you switch to boot from SL to Tiger and back, the boot will take longer.
  6. 2contagious macrumors 6502a


    Apr 29, 2008
    Are you guys sure it's possible to run Tiger on the new Mac Pro's? I thought new machines always needed the (at time of launch) latest version of Mac OS X (in this case 10.6.4) for hardware support reasons.

    EDIT: sorry, didn't see the part about it being a 2006 Mac Pro. It should work then.
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I know someone who has Tiger running on a 2009 system (Quad), and suspect it would run on a 2010 as well. Apple just includes the latest version with the system when manufactured.
  8. Inconsequential macrumors 68000

    Sep 12, 2007

    I think you've got your knickers in a twist :p

    The 2010 Mac Pro can *only* run with 10.6.4 (I believe this is a special build - so 10.6.5 disk would be required without MP2010 specific disks)
    The 2009 Mac Pro can *only* run with 10.5.3 or later
    The 2006-2008 Mac Pro can *only* run with 10.4.7 or later...

  9. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Nah, not worth the effort. :eek: :D :p

    I was going by information I've gotten from another party (person that did it), and had no reason to think there was any fault with it at the time. There may have been some sort of hack involved that wasn't mentioned.
  10. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Maybe he used older GPU that is compatible with Tiger.
  11. mac666er macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    San Francisco, CA
    I have a 2007 Mac Pro, and yes, it is certainly possible, I have done it with 4 HDs and 4 OSs (sometimes more than one OS per drive).

    It sounds it is the first time you will be installing an internal HD in the Mac Pro, I'd say don't worry, it is one of the easiest things to do and you will wish you had it done earlier. Just make sure you have the drive sleds (it will be very unlikely that you don't) the little aluminum sleds that are numbered 1 through 4. If by any chance you don't have them (if you bought your mac used or something else) you can still get one from several sources.

    Having said that, any drive that is 3.5" and SATA will work. There are several variations on these ones, but if you buy it new from a retailer, you won't have any issues with buying the wrong drive. So yes, the one you pointed out in amazon will certainly work.

    One way to install the OS is:

    1) Turn off the mac and open it, install the hard drive.

    2) Turn the Mac Pro on, go to disk utility, format the drive as HFS and name it to your heart's content, say "Macintosh SL OS")

    3) Insert the Snow Leopard OS (preferably the latest one, fresh from the store so you don't have to download any updates).

    4) Restart the machine and press C after you hear the chime to start from the install SL DVD. Install it on the new drive. Be careful to do it in the blank drive.

    5) After this is done you should be pretty much all set up. You can select the startup disk in the preferences panel of either disk once it is running. However, should you change your mind when you turn on your Mac, you can always press the option key after the chime and it will let you choose which drive to boot! :)

    Notes: These instructions are not unique and there are many ways to do it. So feel free to ask around. Also, you don't need another physical drive to pull this off. It makes it easier though, but you can get a larger drive or use the existing one and partition it. Depending on what you are doing, this may or may not require to erase the disk of contents you already have. But you can have one physical hard drive and several "desktop hard drives" from which you can boot. I'm just mentioning this so that you know you have options.

    Lastly, you should bear in mind that you may have to be more careful when doing this as using different OSs on the same machine may affect some of the stuff you may be doing. For example, if you have mobile me and have syncing of any kind on, it may cause some issues, and I stress the *may*. Another thing is iTunes, say you use it on both machines and then decide to buy something or authorize the Mac Pro for a specific song, you may have issues. Again, the key word is *may*.

    I do recommend it, I have 4 hard drives with different OSs, including Windows, Linux and different MAC OSs... very happy the way I have them.

    Good luck!

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